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HEARTFELT ADVICE 

TO A FRIEND 

Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah <1. 7'> 111 















I 



Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah fd. 751H] 


HEARTFELT ADVICE 

TO A FRIEND 

being a tranlation of his work 
‘Risalatu Ibn al-Qayyim ila Ahadi Ikbwanihi’ 





I 


‘I have never regretted anything as much as my 

• / 

regret over a day on which the sun sets and my 
life span decreases while my good deeds have 

not increased.’ 

% 

I bn Mas'ud (radiyAllahu 'anhti ) 





Heartfelt Advice to a 

Friend 


by Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyykh 


SUHHICOHHECT.COM 



Dar as-Sunnah Publishers 

BIRMINGHAM 


First Published in Great Britain, January 2016 / Rabi Al-Awal 1437H 

by Dar as-Sunnah Publishers 

I 

ai-Sfjis 

DAR AS-SUNNAH PUBLISHERS 

P.O. Box 9818, Birmingham, B11 4WA, United Kingdom 

/ 

/ 

/ 

W: www.darassunnah.com / 

E: info@darassunnah.com 
E: daar-us-sunnah@mail.com 

© Copyright 2016 by Dar as-Sunnah Publishers 

\ 

AW rights reserved Worldwide. No part of this publication may be reproduced 
including the cover design, utilized or transformed in any form or means, 
electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording of any information 
storage and retrieval system, now known or to be invented without the express 
permission in writing fror. e publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any 
form of binding or cover otiier then that in which it is published and without 
a similar condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. 

British Library Cataloguing in publication Data. 

A catalogue record for this book is available from the Bridsh Library. 

Tide: Heartfelt Advice to a Friend 
by Imam ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah 
Translated from the original Arabic 

t 

i 

ISBN 1-904336-47-1 
Paper-back 

• 

Typeset by: Dar’as-Sunnah Publishers 
First Edition, 1437 AH /2016 CE 

While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book neither the authors, trans¬ 
lators, nor Dar as-Sunnah Publishers, shall have any liability with respect to any loss or damages 
caused nor do the views expressed in this book are necessarily held by the publisher direedy or 
indirccdy by the instrucuons or advice contained in this book. 



Content 

Short Biography of Ibn al-Qayyim al-jawzlyyah 9 

INTRODUCTION 14 

[i. The Value of Tim^ 16 

[ii. Heedlessness (al-guajld) and Desire ( al-hawaj\ 17 

[iii.The Favoured Ones] 18 

CHAPTER ONE 

4 

[Patience ( al-sabr) and Certainty ( al-yaqinj\ 24 

CHAPTER TWO 

[Guiding People and Calling them to Allah 

and His Messenger] 27 

CHAPTER THREE 

# 

4 

[Steps in Attaining Happiness] 35 

4 

CHAPTER FOUR 

[True Happiness and Delight] 38 


[i. Religion revolves around four rules] 


40 


CHAPTER FIVE 

First Element:. Sincerity {al-ikhlas) 43 

CHAPTER SIX 

Second Element: Truthfulness (al-sidq) 44 

CHAPTER SEVEN 

Third Element: Compliance ( al-mutdba) 

and Adherence (al-iqtida) 46 

CHAPTER EIGHT 

Fourth Element: Station of Excellence ( al-ihsan) 
and Vigilance of Allah ( al-muraqaba ) 49 

# 

CHAPTER NINE 

Fifth Element: ± knowledgment of the 

Favour ( al-minna ) of Allah 52 

CHAPTER TEN 

I 

Sixth Element: Blaming One’s Self for 

Inadequate Efforts 56 

* 

CHAPTER ELEVEN 

[The Four Pillars] 59 

APPENDIX ONE 

The Virtues of Patience 60-80 


IBN QAYYIM AL-JAWZIYYAH 


May Allah have mercy upon him 


His Name: 

I 

HE IS THE IMAM, THE HAFIZ, the exegete, the legal jurist, 
Shaykh al-Islam: Abu ‘Abdullah Shamsu-d-Dln Muhammad Ibn 
Abu Bakr - better known as 1 Qayyim al-Jawziyyah. 

His Birth and Education: 

He was born into a noble and knowledgeable family on 7 th Safar 
691H in the village of Zar’, near Damascus, Syria. 

From an early age he set about acquiring knowledge of the 
Islamic sciences from the scholars of his time. Describing his 
desire for knowledge, al-Hafiz Ibn Rajab, Dhayl Tabaqdt-l-Handbilah 
[4/449] said, ‘He had an intense love for knowledge, for books, 
publications and writings.’ 

Ibn Kathlr, al-Bidayah wa-n-Nihayah [14/235] said, ‘He acquired 


9 


HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


from such books what others could not acquire, and he developed 
a deep understanding of the books of the Salaf and of the Khalafi’ 

I 

His Teachers and Shaykhs: 

l 

They include Shihab an-Nablusi, Qadi TaqI ad-Dln ibn Sulayman, 
from whom'he studied hadith; Qadi Badr ad-Dln ibn Jama* ah; Safi 
ad-Dln al-Hindi; Isma'il ibn Muhammad al-Harrani, from whom 
he studied fiqh and usul; and also his father, from whom he learnt 
the laws of inheritance. 

However, the most notable of his teachers was Shaykh al-lslam 
Ibn Taymiyyah, whom he accompanied and studied under for 
sixteen years. Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathlr (14/234) said, ‘He attained 
great proficiency in many branches of knowledge; particularly 
knowledge of taL .i, hadith, and usul. When Shaykh Taqi ad-Dln 
ibn Taymiyyah returned from Egypt in the year 712H, he stayed 
with the Shaykh until he died; learning a great deal of knowledge 
from him, along with the knowledge that he had already occu¬ 
pied himself in attaining. So he became a unique scholar in many 
branches of knowledge.’ 

His Manners and Worship: 

Many of his students and contemporaries nave born witness 
to his excellent character and his manners of worship. Ibn Rajab 
(4/450) said. 

He - may Allah have mercy on him - was constant in 
worship and performing the night prayer, reaching 
the limits in lengthening his prayer and devotion. He 


10 



Ibn Qayyim al-Jaw^iyyah 


was constantly in a state of dhikr and had an intense 
love for Allah. He also had a deep love for turning to 
Allah in repentance, humbling himself to Him with 
a deep sense of humility and helplessness. He would 
throw himself at the doors of Divine obedience and 
servitude. Indeed, I have not seen the likes of him with 
regards to such matters. 

Ibn Kathir (14/234) said, 

He was constant in humbly entreadng and calling upon 
his Lord. He recited well and had fine manners. He 
had a great deal of love and did not harbour any envy 
or malice towards anyone, nor did he seek to harm or 
find fault with them. I was one of those who most 
often kept company with him and was one of the most 
beloved of people to him. I do not know of anyone 
in the world in this time, who is a greater worshipper 
than him. His pray tscd to be very lengthy, with pro¬ 
longed bowing ar . prostrations. His colleagues would 
criticise him fo' this, yet he never retorted back, nor 
did he abandon this practice. May Allah bestow His 

mercy upon him. 


His Students and Works: 

4 

/ 

Amongst his most prominent students were: Ibn Kathir 
(d.774H), adh-Dhahabl (d.748H), Ibn Rajab (d.751H) and Ibn 
‘Abdu-l-HadI (d.744H), as well as two of his sons, Ibrahim and 
Sharafu-d-Dln ‘Abdullah. 

* 

Ibnu-l-Qayyim authored over sixty works. His books and writ¬ 
ings are characterised by their touching address to the heart and 


* 


11 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


soul, as well as their accuracy, precision, strength of argument and 
depth of research. 

In the field of fiqh and usul, his writings include: Tlimu-l- 
Muwaqqihin; Turuqu-l-Hukmiyyah; Igbatbatu-l-Lahfdn; Tuhfatu-l- 
Mawlud; Ahkam Ahlu-l-Dhimmah\ and al-Furusiyyah. 

In the field of hadith and slrah they include: Tahdhib Sunan Abi 
Datvudal-Mandru-l-Munif; Fawa'id al-Hadithiyyah;Jald’u-l-Afhdm; and 
Zadu-l-Ma'ad. 

In the field of beliefs: Ijtima al-Juyiisb al-lslamiyyah; as-Sawa*iqu-l- 

Mursalab; Shifau-l-A/il; Hddiyu-l-Arwdh; al-Kdfiyatu-sh-Sbdfiyah\ and 

Kitab ar-Ruh. 

# 

% 

In the field of akhlaq (morals) and tazkiyah (purification): 
Maddriju-s-Sdlikin; a, -a’ wa-d-Dawd*; al- Wdbilu-s-Sayyib; al-Fawa'id; 
Risalatu-t-Tabukiyyah; Miftah Ddras-Sa*adah\ and f Uddatu-s-Sabirin . 

In the sciences of the Qur’an: at-Tibyan fi Aqsdmi-l-Quddn ; and 
Amthal al-Qudan. 

In language and miscellaneous issues: Badd'i al-Fawa'id. 

Two books haye also been written collating the exegetical com¬ 
ments of ibn al-Qayyim from his various works: Tafsir al-Qayyim 
and Tafsir al-Munir. 

A few of his works have also been translated into the English 
language: Paragons of the Qur'an; Trails and Tribulations; Char¬ 
acteristics of the Hypocrites and Inner Dimentions of the Prayer. 


12 





Ibn Qayyim al-Jan>%iyyah 


Statements of the Scholars about him: 

Ibn Rajab (4/44) said, 

He had deep knowledge concerning tafsir and the fun¬ 
damentals of the religion, reaching the highest degree 
concerning them both. Similar was the case in the field 
of hadith, with regards to understanding its meanings, 
subdeties and deducing rulings from them. Likewise 
was the case in the field of fiqh and its usul, as well 
as the Arabic language. He did a great service to these 
sciences. He was also knowledgeable about rhetoric, 
grammar, and suluk as well as the subdedes and details 
that occur in the speech of the people of tasannvuf. 

Al-Hafiz Ibn Hajar, ad-Duraru-l-Kanrinah (4/21), 

He possessed a courageous spirit as well as vast and 
comprehensive knowledge. He had deep knowledge 
concerning the d«f' ences of opinions of the Scholars 
and about the wayo ot the Salaf. 

f 

Ibn Hajar also said in his commendation to ar-Raddu-l-Wafir, 

And if there were no virtues of Shaykh TaqI ad-Din 
[Ibn Taymiyyah], except for his famous student, Shaykh 
Shamsu-d-Din ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah - the author of 
many works, which both his opponents and supporters 
benefited from - this would be a sufficient indication 
of his [Ibn Taymiyyah’s] great position. 

al-Hafiz Ibn Nasir ad-Dimishql, ar-Raddu-l-Wafir [ p. 69] said. 
He possessed knowledge of the sciences, especially 


13 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


tafslr and usul. 

He also said: 

Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn al-Muhib said, as found in 

• * 

his letter, “I said in front of our Shaykh, al-MizzI, ‘Is 
Ibnu-l-Qayyim at the same level as Ibn Khuzaymah?’ 

He replied, ‘He is in this time, what Ibn Khuzaymah 
was in his time.’” / 

As-Suyuti, Bughjatu-l -1 Vi'at [1 /62] said, 

« 

His books had no equal and he strove and became 
one of the great Imams in [the field of] tafslr, hadlth, 
the Book, the Sunnah, furu', and the Arabic language. 

‘AH al-Qari. cl-Mirqdt [8/251], 

% 

# 

It will be clear to whoever aspires to read the explana¬ 
tion of Mand^ilu-s-Sairin [i.e. Madarij as-Salikin ], that 
they [Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibnu-l-Qayyim] are from the 
great ones of Ahlu-s-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah , and from the 

awliya* of this Ummah. 

% 

QadI Burhan ad-Dln az-Zur‘a said as quoted from him in Dhayl 

•\ 

. There is none under the heaVens who has greater 
knowledge than he. 



. His Death: 

Imam Ibnu-l-Qayyim passed away at the age of sixty, on the 13 th 
night of Rajab, 751H, may Allah shower His Mercy upon him. 


14 






INTRODUCTION 

With the Name of Allah, 
the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful 


\ 


IMAM MUHAMMAD IBN ABI BAKR Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzi- 
yyah, may Allah bestow His Mercy upon him, said: 

I ask Allah, in Whom I have hope to answer our prayers, to em¬ 
brace the brother 'Ala* Al-Di. , with His Kindness in this life and 

I 

the Afterlife; to make him a source of benefit [to others]; and to 
make him blessed wherever may he be - for indeed, the barakah 
of a man lies in his teaching of the good wherever he may land 
and in his advices to every person he meets. In the Qur’an, the 
ajab wherein Allah, Most High, informs us of what Prophet ‘Isa 
(' alayhis-salam ) said about himself, reads as follows: 



“And He has made me blessed wherever I am” 

; [Maryam (19): 31] 

This is to mean, He made me [i.e. ‘Isa] a teacher of goodness, 
a caller to Allah, and an advocate who reminds people of Allah 
and spurs them to obey Him. Truly, all those qualities are from the 


15 


HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


barakab of a man! If a person lacks the said qualities, not only is 
he devoid of barakah, but also there will be no such barakab when 
meedng him or being with him. 


[i. The Value of Time] 

m i 

Further, the absence of barakah will extend to throw its shades 

§ 

on whoever meets him or be in his company because such a person 
wastes his time talking about [trivial] current affairs and past events 
that cause the heart [of his company] to be ruined and clouded 
for it is the waste of time and the corruption of the heart (fasad 
al-qalld) that are the prime causes of all types of harm befalling 
people. Not only does that make a person lose his share of reward, 
but it will also lower his rank (,darajah) and status (man%ild) in the 
sight of Allah. 

I 

It is for this reason, some scholars advised, “Beware of mixing 
with those whose company will waste your time and corrupt your 
heart, lest otherwise all your affairs be ruined and you become 
among those whom Allah said about in the Qur’an, 



“Anti do not obey one whose heart We have made 
heedless of Our remembrance arid who follows his 
desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.” \ 

\al-Kahf (18): 28]” 

If you contemplate the state and conditions of this type of 
people, you will find the heart of all of them, except maybe a few. 


16 



Introduction 


s in a state of heedlessness (ghajla ) and being led by their whims 
and desires (al-hawa) , until their affair becomes ever negligent (IU> 
); hence they observe not what benefits their hearts and increases 
their righteousness; and they engage in matters that not only bring 
them no benefit, but may also cause them harm sooner or later. 1 

Allah, Exalted be He, ordered His Messenger ($i) not to obey 
this group. Thus, the obedience of the Prophet (jll) necessitated 
not to obey this group of people because they call for the following 
of desires and for neglecting the remembrance of Allah. 

[ii. Heedlessness ( al-ghafla) and Desire ( al-hawaj\ 

If heedlessness ( al-ghafla ) of Allah and the Hereafter is coupled 
with following ones’ own whims and desires (ittiba al-hawa ), then 
only evil emanates from such a relation - and it is often that both 
exist hand in hand and ■' ver are apart from each other. 

• J 

% • 

If a person ponders on the corrupt state of the world, in general 
and in particular, one will understand that heedlessness stands as 
a barrier between the servant [of Allah] and understanding and 
knowing Allah. Following of whims and desires keep one away 
from searching for the truth and following it. In the case of the 
former, such a person becomes from those who are astray, and in 
the case of the latter, he becomes among those upon whom Allah 

evoked His Anger. 


1 See Madarij al-Salikin [1/454-456] 


17 






HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


[iii.The Favoured Ones] 


In contrast, those to whom Allah conferred His Favour upon 
are those that He has guided to acquire knowledge about Him, 
then submit to Him, and prefer Him over everything else. Truly, 
those are the ones who embarked the path of safety while the 

J 

rest are walking on the road of doom. It is for this reason, Allah 

f 

ordered us to recite every day and every night for a number of 
times [during the saldb ], / 



“Guide us to the straight path - The path of those upon 
whom 'S ou have bestowed favor, not of those who 
have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.” 

\al-Fdtibah (1): 6-7] 



To be among those whom are guided by Allah to the right path 
- the servant of Allah is in great need to know all that which will 
benefit him in this life and the Hereafter; to be inclined to favour 
what will benefit him over anything else, and to avoid all that 
which harms him [in this life and the Hereafter]. If however, one 
overlooks knowledge, they will then be embarking upon a path 
of those who are astray, and if one deviates, does not comply nor 

9 one will then be treading on the path of those 
whom Allah is angry with. By this elucidation, it becomes clear [to 
us] the high-status and significance of this supplication and prayer, 
and the great need of people to have it fulfilled in their lives as the 
happiness of a person in this life and the Hereafter depends on it. 


18 





Introduction . 




% 


The servants need [of Allah] for guidance is always persisting 
in all affairs; with every breath one takes, every moment one lives, 
and [the need for having this supplication be answered] manifests 
in every affair, be that in all that one receives or all that one leaves 
- for one cannot but to be: 

i. A person whose ignorance made him to believe in matters 
or to perform actions that contravene the guidance [of 
Islam]; hence he needs to seek Allah’s guidance about these 
matters. 

ii. A person who is aware of the guidance [of Islam about some 
matters] but, nevertheless, he intentionally contravenes it; 
hence, he needs to repent from it [i.e. the sin]. 

iii. A person who lacks guidance [on particular matters] at both 
levels, knowledge and action; therefore he fails to acquire 
the knowledge and to ac pon its purpose [accordingly]. 

iv. A person whose guidance on some matters is incomplete 
i.e. he is guided only to some aspects of a matter; hence he 
needs to perfect and complete his guidance. 

v. A person whose guidance does not extend to coyer the 
details of the matters he is guided to; hence he needs guid¬ 
ance on these details. 

vi. A person who is guided to find the [directions to the] right 
path but that requires him to have guidance again after he 
embarks upon it, because to be guided to [find] the right 
path is one thing and to be guided after proceeding in the 
path is another thing. For example, a person may know 
the directions to a particular town but he cannot trayel.the 
journey because to do that, he needs to have guidance on 
how to make the journey, such as knowing the best time 
for travelling, knowing the quantity of water needed for 


19 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


the trip and knowing where to rest during the journey and 

etc. If the latter guidance is not acquired, the traveler may 
suffer or die during the trip. • y 

vii. A person who needs to have future guidance on some mat¬ 
ters just as he had guidance on such matters in the past. 

viii. A person who holds no view on some matters so he nei¬ 
ther believes them to be false nor true; hence he needs to 
be guided to the right belief about them. 

ix. A person who believes he is guided in some matters while, 

in fact, he is astray without realising it; hence he needs to 

change his position, which cannot be except by the guidance 
of Allah. 

x. A person who is guided to some matters and yet also needs 
guiding, advising and directing others to what he was guided 
to as this will maintain his guidance; otherwise he may be 
depiive. iom it. This is because as the known proverb 
stater., “like the fault, like the punishment” i.e. as a person guides 
and teaches others, Allah will guide him and teach him to 
become a righdy guided person who guides others too. This 
is a rank that was narrated in the supplication of the Prophet 
( [M)> who said: 

• \ 

“O Allah, adorn us with the beauty of iman (faith), 
make us rightly guvded who guide others; do not let 
us astray or lead others astray, let us be peaceful with 
your supporters and belligerent with your enemies, 
make us love those who love You for they love You; 

and let us show enmity against those who disobey your 
Command.” 2 


2 Sahlh Ibn Khuzaymah, #1119 
It was declared dalf by AlbanI, Da'if al-Jami' #1194 


20 









^ i 

Introduction 


Allah, Exalted be He, has praised His believing servants who 
beseech Him to be people who are righdy guided, and who stand 
out as role models for others to follow in their guidance; He said 

in the ayah. 


i"' 

Uo 








“And those who say, ‘Our Lx>rd, grant us from among 
our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make 
us an example for the righteous.”’ 

[< al-Furqan (25) :74] 


Ibn ‘Abbas {radiyAllahu 'anhuma ) said commenting, “It means, 
[O Allah] make people guided to the good through us”, 

Abu Salih commented, it means, let people be guided through 
our guidance.” 

I 

Makhul said, “[It means] let us be examples in righteousness so 
that the righteous follow our example.” 


Mujahid commented, “[It means, O Allah] make us follow¬ 
ers of the righteous ones and Pet us] follow their example in 
righteousness.” 

4 

The explanation of Mujahid was found problematic by those who 
did not comprehend the knowledge of the righteous predecessors or realise the 
depth of knowledge they had. For this reason, they objected by argu- 
. ing that, “According to his explanation, the meaning of the ayah 
will be reversed to mean, [O Allah] make the righteous be the 


21 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 
example we follow.” 

I take refuge in Allah from such a statement because it is im¬ 
possible to find any ayah with a reversed meaning in the Qur’an 
because the statement of Mujahid, may Allah engulf him with 
His Mercy, indicates his perfect comprehension since it is obvious 
that a person cannot be an example that the righteous follow his 

leads unless he himself follows the example of the righteous ones. 

* 

This is the aspect that Mujahid intended to highlight, which 
explains how a person can attain this high rank - that is by follow¬ 
ing the example of the righteous people who preceded him so as 
Allah makes the righteous ones succeeding him in time to follow 
his example. Truly, this is from the best understanding of Qur’an 
and [as explained] it is irrelevant to the issue of “ reversed meaning.” 

That ting the case, whoever follows the example of the pred¬ 
ecessors who adhered to the Sunnah, his example will be followed 
by those who succeed him in time and also by those who live in 
the same era of his. 

The word (CCf) “Imam ”- translated to “an examplefor ■”is used in 
its singular form; and as can be noted, Allah, Most High, did not 
use the plural form of the work as the ayah did not read to say, 
“Make us examples for the righteous. ” 

i 

This has been explained by many scholars, some of whom 
explained that the word “Imam” is the plural of the word “Aam } \ 

but this interpretation is farfetched and uncommon to be found in 

♦ 

the famous usage of Arabic language; hence such understanding 
cannot be used to interpret or explain the words of Allah. Other 
scholars said, the word “Imam” is not an ism (i.e. a gerund) but 


22 



Introduction 


rather a masdar (i.e. a noun that is derived from a verb and usu¬ 
ally preserves the verb’s syntactic features); hence it implies the 
meaning, “make us to have an Imam”, and this interpretation is an 
ever weaker opinion than the aforesaid one. 

Al-Farra said, “the reason why the word “Imam” was used in a 
singular format; and not plural, is because it falls under the cat¬ 
egory of the singular that is intended to refer to a plural just like 
the word ‘ messenger’ used in the ayah , “We are the Messenger of the 
Lord of worlds” wherein the word used is singular though it refers 
to two persons. This interpretation is the best of all but still re¬ 
quires further elucidation - that is: All the righteous people walk in 
the same path, worship the same illah (God), adhere to the same 
Book, believe in die same Prophet, and they are all the servants 
of One Lord i.e. their religion is the same, their Prophet is the 
same, their di - Book is the same and the illah they worship is 
the same; hence it is as if all of this makes out the Imam that they 
follow. This is the absolute opposite of the case of Imams whose 
views, paths, beliefs, creed and methodology are different. Thus 
in reality, following the example of the righteous means following 
what they are upon. 


# 


23 




CHAPTER ONE 


Patience ial-sabr ) 1 and Certainty {al-yaqin ) 2 


Allah, Most High, informed us that the state of being an Imam in 
religion [i.e. a righteous person who people take as a role model to 
follow his steps] is earned through patience and certainty; He said, 



\nd We made from among them leaders guiding by 


1 Sabr. patience and steadfastness, the restraint of ones self to that which is 
dictated by the divine law. It is of three levels, steadfastness in the obedience 
of Allah, steadfastness in avoiding the prohibited matters and patience at the 
onset of calamity. I kb las can never be complete without sidq and sidq can never 
be complete without ikblas and the two can never be complete without sabr. 
The person is patient through Allah, i.e. seeking His aid Alone; for Ailah, i.e. 
arising out of love for Him and the desire to draw close to Him; and with Allah, 
i.e. doing only that which He wills. 

2 .Yaqin: certainty. It is to faith (Jmdn) what the soul is to the body, it is the soul to 
the actions of the heart which in turn formulate the souls to the actions of the 
limbs and through it one attains the rank of Siddiq. Fromj*ty/« does tawakkul 
(absolute reliance in Allah) sprout and through yaqin is all doubt, suspicion and 
worry dispelled and the heart filled with love, hope and fear of Allah. Yaqin 
is of three levels, that which arises from knowledge (7 Irn al-yaqin ), seeing (ain 
al-yaqin) and actual experience (Haqq al-yaqin). 


24 




Patience (al-sabr) and Certainty (al-yaqin) 


Our command when they were patient and [when] they 
were certain of Our signs.” 

[ai-Sajdah (32): 25] 

It is therefore with patience and certainty that a person can 
reach the status of al-imamah in religion. [Scholars offered differ¬ 
ent interpretations of what patience refers to in the ayah]; some 
said it is to be patient with respect to this worldly life [i.e. abstain 
with perseverance from unlawful and sinful worldly pleasures], 
and some said it is to be patient with the hardships that befall, 
and some said it is to avoid the unlawful with perseverance. The 
correct interpretation, however, is that it is to have perseverance 
over all that; to perform the obligations that Allah ordained on 
us with perseverance, to avoid all that which Allah forbade with 
perseverance, and to have perseverance over all that which Allah 
decreed and predestined for us. 

« •_ i 

Allah, Most High, com 1 . ~d patience with certainty in the said 
ayah because the source of happiness of Allah’s slaves emanates 
from them and without them Allah’s slaves become detached from 
it. This is because the heart is [often] exposed to the knocks of the 
sinful desires that contravene Allah’s orders, and to the knocks of 
the doubts that contravene the divine revealed texts, however, with 
perseverance such desires (al-shawahat) are casted away and ivith certainty 
such doubts (al-Shubahat) are pushed out - for [sinful] desire ( al-Shahwa ) 
and doubt ( al-shubah ) oppose all the aspects of religion. Only 
those who pushed away their desires with perseverance (al-sabr) 
and barred their doubts with certainty (al-yaqiti) will be saved from 
Allah’s punishment i.e. Allah, Most High, said in the ayah , 



25 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 



* 

“[You disbelievers are] like those before you; they 
were stronger than you in power and more abundant 
in wealth and children. They enjoyed their portion [of 
worldly enjoyment], and you have enjoyed your portion 
as those before you enjoyed their portion, and you have 
engaged like that in which they engaged. [It is] those 
whose deeds have become worthless in this world and 
in the Hereafter and it is they who are the losers.” 

[al-Tawbah (9): 69] 

\ 

\ 

The part “enjoyed their portion of worldly enjoyment ” refers to their 
enjoyment of their share of [sinful] desires while the part “engaged 
[in vanities] like that if hick they engaged ” refers to engaging in false 
and unlawful matters regarding the religion of Allah - refering to 
vain and false topics of the people of doubts. The end of the ayah , 



[It is] those whose deeds have become worthless in 
this workfand in the Hereafter, and it is they who are 
the losers.” 

\al-Tawbah (9): 69] 

Allah mentioned that the result of such a state, namely becom¬ 
ing losers and their deeds becoming worthless, depends on their 
following of desires, which is enjoying their portion of worldly 
pleasures, and on following the doubts, which is engaging in false 
and in vain topics. 



26 



CHAPTERTWO 


Guiding people and calling them to Allah 

and His Messenger (^) 


Aside from the two previously mentioned requirements [i.e. 
padence and certainty], the ayah brings to attention two other 
, principles, the first of which is: calling people to Allah and guiding 
them, and the second one is: guiding people to Allah according to 
what He ordained and order through His Messenger (i|g), and 
not according to their intellect, opinions, policies, preferences, and 
blind following of their forefathers without having an evidence 
from Allah. This is because Allah said, in its meaning. 



“And We made from among them leaders guiding by 
Our command when they were patient and [when] they 
were certain of Our signs.” 

[al-Sajdah (32): 24] 

To recap, the ayah includes four principles. 

r 

1) Patience (ai-sabr), which means to withhold oneself from 


27 


HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 

what Allah made unlawful, to dedicate oneself in fulfilling 
what Allah made obligatory and ordained, and to avert 
oneself from complaining or being angry at Allah’s decrees. 


2) Certainty ( al-yaqiti ), which means to have a profound estab¬ 
lished faith {imarif - that is free of questions, hesitation and 
doubts, in five tenets that Allah stated in the ayah, 


• 


“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward 
the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one 
who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the 
Book, and the Prophets.” 

\al-Baqarah (2): 177] 

ilvSli 



••X • 


“And whoever disbelieves in Allah, His angels, His 
books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly 
gone far astray.” 

1 imart\ The firm belief, complete acknowledgement and acceptance of all 
that Allah and His Messenger have commanded to have faith in, submitdng 
to it both inwardly and outwardly. It is the acceptance and belief of the heart 
that includes the actions of the heart and body, therefore it encompasses the 
establishment of the whole religion. This is why the Imams and Salaf used to 
say, ‘Faith is the statement of the heart and tongue, action of the heart, tongue 
and limbs.’ Hence it comprises statement, action and belief, it increases through 
obedience and decreases through disobedience. It includes the beliefs of faith, 
its morals and manners and the actions demanded by it. 


% 


28 






Guiding people and calling them to Allah and His Messenger (fg) 


[al-Nisa’ (4): 136] 


And it is also stated in the ayah. 







“The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to 
him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of 
them have believed in Allah and His angels and His 
books and His messengers.” 

[al-Baqarah (2): 285] 


Wherein believing in the Final Day is part of believing in the 
divine Books and Messengers. 


Umar ibn al-Khattab ( nuliyAlldhu ( anhu) narrated that the Prophet 
(ft) said: “Faith ( al-iman ) is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His 
Books, His Messengers and the Last Day. 

Therefore whoever does not believe in all of the five tenets is 
not a believer. As for certainty, it is the state when belief in all 
these five tenets is so profound to the point that the heart can 
realise the five tenets and observe them just like how the eyes can 
see the reflection of the sun and the moon [on water]. This is why 
some of the righteous predecessors said, “Certainty is from Faith.” 

3) Guiding people and calling them to Allah and His Messen¬ 
ger: Al-Hasan al-Basrl used to comment after reciting the 

ayah, 

2 Bukhari (1/22) and Muslim (1/36) 



29 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 



“And who is better in speech than one who invites to 
Allah and does righteousness and says, ‘Indeed, I am 
of the Muslims.”’ 


[al-Fussilat (41): 33], 


“This is the one whom Allah loves, this is the wait of 

7 

Allah; he submitted to Him, obeyed Him, done right¬ 
eous deeds, and called people/to Him.” 

f 

These type of a people are the best of people whose ranks will 
be the highest on the Day of Judgment. They are the ones whom 
Allah exempted from the being losers when He said. 



“By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those 
who have believed and done righteous deeds and 
advised each other to truth and advised each other to 
patience.” 

[al-'Asr( 103): 1-3] 

In this Surah, Allah swore that mankind is in loss except those who 
perfect themselves with belief and righteous deeds, and perfected 
others by advising them about belief and good deeds. 

I 

t 

' I 

Imam al-Shafi'i said, “If people contemplated on Surah al- ( Asr, 
it would have sufficed them.” 

A person cannot be a true follower of Allah’s Messenger ($&) 


30 



Guiding people and calling them to Allah and His Messenger ($g) 


unless he calls to Allah with a basirah for the ayah , 



“Say, ‘This is my way; I invite to Allah with basirah, I 
and those who follow me.”’ 

[Yusuf (12): 108] 


wherein Allah used the words, 

Iwt < 

“I invite to Allah” 


to explain the way upon which Allah’s Messenger (^) is; hence 
inviting to Allah must be his way and the way of his followers and 
so whoever doe: ot invite to Allah will not be upon the way of 
Allah’s Messenger. As for the part basirah , 


r 




“with insight”,. 


it refers to standing firm in the religion, as Ibn al-'Arabl said. It 
was also said to mean, “a lesson and an example.” 

I 

The correct view however, after investigation is that a learned 
lesson is the fruit of having an insight about a matter because if a 
person has an insight about something, then he will come to realise 
the moral behind it; thus whoever does not know the moral or the 
lesson from a matter it is as if he has no insight. 

[In Arabic language], the origin of the word basirah means eluci- 




31 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


dation and appearing; Allah, Most High, described the Qur’an to 
be basair (i.e. plural of basirafif , which translates to the evidence, 
the guidance and the elucidation leading to the truth and the right 
course. It is for this reason Arabs call the traces of blood leading 
to the hunted prey a basirah. The ayah also indicates that whoever 
does not have this quality (i.e. basirah) is not from the followers 
of the Prophet (i§|), and states that his followers are those with 
basirah as noted in the part 


^ ' .S' , 


i 

I and those who follow me 


because if the intended meaning is supposed to be “Iand others 
invite to Allah”, and the part 

A* ^ . 

“those who follow me” 


is connected to the noun in 


£3 


u 


I invite”, 


and that the conjunction in place is deemed good to separate 
between the two lines, then it is evidence that the followers of the 
Prophet (M) are those who invite to Allah and to His Messenger. 
On the other hand, if it was associated with the pronoun in 

“My way”, 

It would mean, this is my way and the way of those who follow 


See Surah al-Jathiyah, verse 21 


32 




Guidingpeople and calling them to Allah and His Messenger $%) 

me. Thus, in both cases, the way of the Prophet (J$g) and the way 
of his followers is to invite people to Allah. 

4) The part of the ayah, 

“Guiding by Allah’s Command” 

presents the fourth principle and it proves that thy follow what 
Allah revealed to His Messenger, and that their guidance cannot he 
unless thy only comply nnth the guidance of Allah’s commands, and 

not with any opinion or views, because they guide by His 

* 

command only. This is to show that the Imams of religion, 
whom people follow as their leads and examples, are those 
who have the qualities of patience, certainty and invite to 
Allah according to the Sunnah and A’^h’s revelation and not 
according to their opinions and inno. • oions. Truly, those are 
the successors of the Prophet in this nation; the favoured 
group that Allah loves and draws close to Him; hence being 
their enemy means showing enmity to Allah, Most High, 
so Allah will declare war against His enemies accordingly. 

Imam Ahmad said in the introduction of his book refuting the 
Jahmiyyah’*, the following: “All praise is due to Allah Who facili¬ 
tated for every era some people of knowledge to guide the astray 
to the right path and show patience over their harm, to help the 
blind [hearts] to see with the light of Allah, and to revive the dead 

A A group named after Jahm ibn Safwan, who denied the Names and Attributes 
of Allah, the Most High. His beliefs were contray to that of Ahul-Sunnah-wal 
Jammah. 


33 







HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


[hearts] with the book of Allah for many [hearts] that Iblls has 
assassinated but they managed to revive; and many are those who 
were astray and lost but they succeeded to guidance. Truly, their 
effect on people is good and praiseworthy whereas the effect of 
people on them is vile. They negate what extremists interpolate 
from the Qur’an, rebut the claims of falsifiers, and refute the in¬ 
terpretations of the ignorant ones who raised the flags of innova¬ 
tions and unleashed unjustified argumentation, causing them [i.e. 
ignorant and falsifiers] to depart from the book of Allah and agree 
to talk about Allah and His book without knowledge, and indulge 
in discussions about the mutashihhat (i.e. verses that are unspecific 
whose interpretation and meanings are vague), and further they 
deceive laypeople with their arguments. We seek refuge with Allah 
from the nuisances and deviation of people who are astray and 
misguide others.” 






I 


34 




CHAPTER THREE 


[Steps in Attaining Happiness] 

I 

Amongst the matters that people ought to be concerned with 
and acquire the knowledge and cognition thereof, while ensuring to 
have the will and intent to achieve all that, is to know that human 
beings, let alone all other living creatures, are after provisions of 
pleasure, comfort and good life. Through which they can avert 
the opposite of what diey hope to achieve. Evidendy, this is a 
purpose that all creatures are required to achieve and have a sound 

i ^ 

objective to pursue. This purpose requir he following six steps 

\ 

mentioned below: 

% 

1. To know that which is suitable and bring forth benefits 
through which a person can attain pleasure and comfort 

and lead a good life. 

2. To know the path leading to it. 

3. Embarking upon the path. 

4. To know that which causes harm and consequently disturbs 
one’s life. 

5. To know the path leading to.it. 

6. To avoid such a path. 

Only by following these steps can happiness, pleasure and 
righteousness can be perfected and assured, otherwise, i|f eit 
or all the six steps are not followed, one s life will be 


35 


HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


and negatively affected. While each sensible person endeavors to 
act by these six directives, most of them fail to achieve the desired 
benefit (and result) they pursue - either due to their failure to have 
the right perspective and knowledge about it, or due to their failure 
to know the path leading to it. The reason by which people fall in 
these two errors is ignorance, and acquiring the knowledge will 
solve the issue. 

/ 

/ 

/ 

In some cases, a person may have the knowledge of things that 
are suitable and bring about benefits, and also knows the path lead¬ 
ing to it, yet it happens that he has whims and desires hindering 
his efforts to achieve the good benefit he is after, and it prevents 
him from embarking its path because every time he wants to 
seek it, his whims and desires stand in his own way. However, to 
overcome his whims and desires freeing him to proceed to achiev¬ 
ing the benefit, he must either have an overwhelming love or that he 
endures an annoyance. 


In the case of the iurmer, he must love Allah, His Messenger, the 
Hereafter, Paradise and its bounties more than his own whims and 
desires, while knowing that he cannot combine both. Therefore 
he decides to favour the things that he loves the most over the 
things he loves the least. In the case of the latter, he could have 
the knowledge of the consequences of favouring l_s whims and 
desires; hence he's aware that going along with his whims and 
desires will cause him lasting fear and pain that last longer and are 
more severe than the suffering he will endure due to abandoning 
his whims and desires. If these two types of love take over his 
heart they will make him realise what should be favored because 
human intellect directs us to favour the most beloved over the 
least beloved, and to endure the least disliked in getting rid of the 
most disliked. By knowing this principle, you will understand the 
mindset of people and help yourself in distinguishing the sensible 


36 




[Steps in Attaining Happiness] 


0 


from the insensible, and recognise the different levels of people’s 
sensibility. Truly, a person who favours a current pleasure, whose 
effect will disturb his life and Hereafter, must be a person with no 
sense of sensibility. For how can a person favour such pleasures 
that are as temporary as a dream and as short as a good moment 
a person spends with a character visiting him in a dream, over an 
everlasting pleasure that is among the ultimate pleasures! 

I 

How could a person sell all that for such mortal lowly pleasures 
that come with pain and are also achieved with pain and whose 
result is nothing but pain! If the sensible thinks of pain vis-a-vis 
pleasure and harm vis-a-vis benefit when thinking of such desires, 
he would have been ashamed of himself and his sensibility; thus 
he will never pursue such desires or v -.te his time busying himself 
with it,'let alone favour them over “\ nat no eye ever saw and no 

ear ever heard of and nor even thought of by any person.” 1 

% 

t 

Indeed, Allah, Most High, has purchased from the believers 
their lives in exchange for that which they will have in Paradise, 
and established this contract through His Messenger, the best 

A* 

of mankind whom He loves and favours the most over all other 
creation. Therefore, how could a sensible person neglect;, waste 
or undermine a merchandise that the Lord of the heavens and the 
earth has purchased; whose price is to enjoy seeing His Noble Face 
and hear His Words in Paradise; notwithstanding the great honour 
of such a contract for being established through His Messenger! 
How could a person waste this great blessing and settle for a mortal 1 
life! Truly, this is the greatest of all loss, which will become evident 
to such a person on the Day of Judgment when the scales of the 
pious are heavy and the scales of the losers are light. 

1 Bukhari (4/103) and Muslim (4/2174). 


37 





CHAPTER FOUR 


[True Happiness and Delight] 


If you come to know what I have just explained, you will then 
know that the ultimate pleasure, perfect delight and rejoice, grace 
and good life are found only in knowing Allah, worshipping Him alone, 
feeling comfort and affability while being with Him, longing (shawq) to meet 

Him, and devoting the heart (al-qalb) and endeavors for Him. 

\ 

In contrast, me most petdsh life is of those whose hearts are 
distracted [with worldly pleasures] and whose attention [is not 
devoted to Allah]; hence they find no abode where they can settle 
and no beloved to find refuge with. Indeed, a good and beneficial 
life, with peace of mind are attained through the tranquility and 
comfort found while being in the company of the first love [i.e. 
Allah], no matter how much the heart swings between all the 
worldly pleasures one loves and desires, it will never enjoy any of 
them until one feels comfort and safety and delight with his Lord; 
the only Supporter and Protector whose authority surpasses [all] 
the creation and without^whom no support or protection can be 
achieved. 

• . I 

% 

You must ensure that you only care about one thing - namely 
working for the pleasure of Allah alone, for indeed it is the ultimate 


38 



[Tme Happiness and Delight] 


happiness that a servant of Allah can ever dream of having. This 
is because a person whose heart is in such a state will not only 
bask in heaven while still being on earth, but will thereafter dwell 
in Allah’s Paradise in the Hereafter. It was said by one of those 
whose heart is overwhelmed with the love of Allah, Most High. 

“Sometimes, my heart experiences an overwhelming state [due 
to being in the company of Allah] that makes me exclaim, if 
the dwellers of Paradise experience such a state of happiness 
and comfort, I am confident that they lavish in a delight beyond 
imagination.” 

Another person said, “Sometimes, the heart experiences a state 
of joy because of which it leaps with great merriment.” - 

And another person said, “How pity and poor are those whose 
concern revolves around this worldly life! They depart it [the 

I 

worldly life] without tasting the best c its pleasures.” He was 
asked, and what is that? He replied, “Knowing Allah, loving Him 
and feeling affability while being close to Him, and longing to 
meet Him.” 

’ Truly, there is no grace equivalent to the grace that the dwell¬ 
ers of Paradise lavish themselves with except this kind of grace. 
This is why Allah’s Messenger (M) said, “Women and fragrance 
have been made dear to my affections, and my pleasure, peace and 
contentment are made in the salah. ,n 


1 Ahmad and others 
It was declared hasan by al-Albanl 




39 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


In this report, the Prophet (M) informs us that two things from 
this worldly life were made dear to his affection, then he followed 
it with a statement to say that his pleasure, contentment and peace 
were made for him in the saldh. Evidendy, the feelings of pleasure 
contentment and peace are of a higher rank than the feelings of 
love because not all that a person loves results with pleasure, peace, 
and contentment for such feelings are only attained with the most 
beloved one, who is beloved for his essence. 

A 

i 

This ultimate state of love cannot be for anyone but Allah alone, 
the One and only worthy of worship ,While anything or anyone 
else is beloved as a result of loving Him; hence persons or things 
are beloved for His sake and we do not love anyone or anything 
alongside Him. This is because to love for His sake is a matter of 
taivhid 2 whereas to love anything or anyone with Him is [a form 
of] shirk. ri cause, a mushrik (i.e. one who associates partners with 
Allah) takes other than Allah as equals [to Him] and so he loves 
them as he [is supposed to] love Allah; whereas a muivahid [i.e. one 
who worships Allah alone] loves those whom Allah loves and hates 
those whom Allah hates; all his actions are for His sake and all that 
which he refrains from are also for His sake. 

/ 

[i. Religion revolves around four rules] 

Religion revolves around these four rules, namely love (al-habb) 
and hate (al-bughd), which necessitates the following actions (al-fdl): 
refraining and abandoning ( al-tarq ), giving away [that which one 

♦ I 

• I # 

2 Tawbid : unification, monotheism, the belief in the absolute Oneness of Allah. 
It is to believe that Allah Alone is the creator, nourishcr, and sustainer of the 
worlds; it is to believe that Allah Alone deserves to be worshipped; and it is to 
believe that He has Unique and Perfect Names and Attributes that far transcend 
anything that one can imagine. 


40 






[True Happiness and Delight] 


owns] and withholding [i.e. refrain from disbursing]. That being 
said, whoever ensures all that is sincerely for Allah’s sake, his faith 
will be perfect and whoever fails to ensure either or all of the said 
aspects are for Allah’s sake, his faith becomes effected accordingly. 

The intended meaning is that, whatever brings forth pleasure, 
contentment and peace is superior to what we merely like or love 
- i.e. performing the salah brings forth pleasure, contentment and 
peace to the ardent devotees who love Allah in this world due to the 
fact that salah includes communicating with the only One to whom 
the hearts are content and exuberated, souls are settled and minds 
are at peace; it allows them to bask in the grace of remembering 
Him. It dips their hearts in the ocean of humility and submission 
to His Majesty, and it draws them near to Him, particularly dur¬ 
ing the state of prostration which is the closest point a believing 
slave can be to Allah. This meaning r. manifests in the words of the 
Prophet (i||) when he said: “O Bilal! mmon [people] to the salah 
so we can be at comfort and ease by praying.” 3 

I 

♦ 

This statement informs us that the comfort of the Prophet 
(M) is found in the salah wherein he finds peace, contentment and 
pleasure too, as he also stated. Compare this state with those who 

. say, let us pray so we relieve ourselves from the burden of salah\ 

* 

I 

Only a true devotee finds peace, contentment and pleasure in 
the salah while the heedless and neglectful is deprived of all that! 
In fact, such a person finds the salah a difficulty and a burden 
that makes him disturbed and troubled when praying, and makes 
him feel as if he is standing on embers. This is why such a person 
prefers a salah that is very short and quick as he finds no peace, 

Ahmad (6/501) and Abu Dawud (#4985) 

It was declared sahih by al-Albani 


41 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


pleasure and contentment in it. Indeed, if a person finds peace, 
contentment and pleasure in a matter, one will find it too difficult 
to depart from it. While on the other hand, a person whose heart 
is empty from the love of Allah and the Hereafter - is inflicted 
with the love of this worldly life and its pleasures, finds salah to 
be the most difficult thing to do and despises it the most when it 
is long, although he is healthy, has sufficient free time and is not 
busy with anything else. 

• . 

It is ought to be known too that the salah that brings forth peace, 

% 

pleasure and contentment to the heart and mind is the type of 
salah that consists of six elements: 


42 




CHAPTER FIVE 


First Element: 
Sincerity ( al-ikhlas )' 


The reason for which a servant [of Allah] prays and feels en¬ 
couraged to pray should be his intention to draw closer to Allah; 
his love for Him; his wish to seek 1 'is pleasure and closeness; his 
compliance with His Command i pray; hence there is nothing 
from this worldly life that ever encourages him to pray. 

I 

i 

k 

Rather, he prays only to seek the pleasure of his Lord the Most 
High whom he loves and fears, and whose reward and forgiveness 
he seeks. 


Ikhldr. sincerity, to strip oneself of worshiping any besides Allah such that 

everything one does is performed only to draw closer to Him and for His 

pleasure. It is to purify ones actions from any but the Creator having a share 

in them, from any defect or self-desire. The one who has true ikhlds ( mukhlis) 
will be free of riyd\ 1 


9 


43 




CHAPTER SIX 


Second Element: 

Truthfulness ( al-sidq )' 

/ 

/ 

9 

I 

/ 

A person should empty his heart (qa/b) from everything of this 
worldly life so it becomes dedicated to Allah alone while pray¬ 
ing, so one can en ivour to be attentive, performs it in the best 
manner outwardly and inwardly. This is because the sa/ah has two 
aspects, an apparent aspect (%ahir) and a hidden aspect (batin ); 
the former (gabit) is the visible actions ( al-afa'l al-mushahadd) and 
audiable statements (al-aqwalal-mastmYah) while the latter {batin) is 
the vigilance (al-muraqaba) of Allah and attentiveness (< al-khushu) 
while keeping the heart fully dedicated to Him and not distracted 
by anything or anyone else. 


' Sidq: truthfulness, the conformity of the inner to the outer such that the deeds 
and statements of the person do not belie his beliefs and vice-versa. Sidq is the 
foundauon of faith and results in peace of mind, lying is the foundation of 
hypocrisy and results in doubt and suspicion, and this is why the two can never 
co-exist without being at odds with each other. 

al-Junayd was asked as to whether sidq and ikhids were’the same or different 
and he replied, ‘They are different, sidq is the root and ikhids is the branch. Sidq 
is the foundation of everything and ikhids only comes into play once one com¬ 
mences an action. Actions are only acceptable when they combine both.’ The 
one who has true sidq will be free of self-conceit. 


44 



Second Element: Truthfulness (al-sidq) 


The former is like the station of the body ( mansfla al-badan) of 
salah while the latter is like station of the soul ( man^ila al-ruh)\ 
therefore, if the soul is absent then the salah becomes like a body 
without a soul and the servant must be ashamed of himself for 
meeting his Master in such a state! This is why the salah is empty 
of its soul, it is rolled up like how a garment is rolled up then it 
smashes the face of the one who prayed it then says to him, May 
Allah waste you just like how you wasted me! 

As for the salah whose hidden and apparent aspects are perfected 
and completed, it rises up (above) with a light that is as shining 
bright as the sun light until it is presented to Allah; He then ac¬ 
cepts it. The salah then says to the one who prayed it, May Allah 
preserves you just as how you preserved me. 




45 




CHAPTER SEVEN 


i 


Third Element: 

Compliance ( al-mutaba) and Adherence 

(al-iqtida \j 


The thin 5 “lement is to ensure praying according to the way of 
Prophet (%*; and that his salah conforms to the description of the 
salah of Allah’s Messenger (^|), and to refrain from the actions, 
statements or description of salah that people innovated and have 
not been reported from Allah’s Messenger (^) or his Companions. 
A person is to pay no attention to the words of those [people of 
knowledge] who always seek concessions and only comply with 
the minimum obligatory aspects, all the while, other [people of 
knowledge] dispute with them over such understanding and views 
and so declare what those people deem as optional to be obliga¬ 
tory. It is also possible that they disregard authentic hadiths and 
established acts of Sunnah that oppose what they are upon on the 
grounds that they are following the madhhab of so and so. 

I 

% * 

Evidently, this is an invalid excuse that Allah does not accept and 
also does not relieve a person from responsibility for not prac¬ 
ticing the Sunnah after knowing about it. This is because Allah, 
Most High, ordered ns to obey and follow His Messenger alone 
and the only case where others are obeyed is when they advocate 


46 


Third Element: Compliance (,dl-mutaba') and Adherence (al-iqtida) 


the orders and ways of Allah’s Messenger («H). That being said, it 
should be borne in mind that views of every person can be open 
for discussion and therefore either accepted or rejected, except 
the orders and statements of the Prophet whose words are 
always final and binding. 


Allah, Most High, swore by Himself that we will not believe until 
we refer to the Messenger of Allah to judge on what we dispute 
over, and then submit and accept his judgment for no person’s 
judgment or submission to any other person will save us from the 
Punishment of Allah. And, such response will not be accepted 
when Allah asks us on the Day of Judgment, 



■VO 




“What have you responded to the Messengers?” 

\al-Qasas (28): 65] 


S I 

t 

for He will certainly ask us about it and demand us to answer 
lim; Allah, Most High;said, 



“Truly, We will ask those whom we sent them the 
Messengers and We shall also ask the Ones We sent 
to them” 

[al-A'rdf (7): 6] 

The Prophet (|H) said: “It was revealed to me that you will be 
tested and asked about me” 1 , meaning that we will be asked about 

1 Ahmad and others 
It was declared hasan by al-Albani 


47 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


him in our graves. 

Hence whoever is aware of any act of Sunnah then abandoned 
it for the sake of someone else’s view, he will be questioned about 
it and then will know the consequences of his actions. 



48 



CHAPTER EIGHT 


Fourth Element: 

Station of Excellence ( al-ihsan ) and 
Vigilance of Allah ( al-muraqaba ) 


Station of excellence ( al-ihsan)' renders to mean the state of be- 
ln g vigilant of Allah ( al-muraqaba ) 2 - th: t is to say, to worship Him 
as if you could see Him [watching j ]. This state stems from 
having a perfect belief (kamal al-imdn) in Allah, His Names and 
Attributes; to the point that you become as if you can envision 
Him above His Throne above the heavens; arranging the affairs 
of the entire creation and issuing His commands that governs 
the cosmos, all the while, the deeds and souls of His slaves are 


presented before Him. In this state, a believing servant witnesses 
all that with his heart, and experiences [the application of] His 
Attributes and Names; he sees [in his heart and mind] that He 
is the Sustainer [of all that exists] (< al-Qayyum ), the Ever-Living 


Ihsatr. beneficence, excellence. To worship Allah as if one is seeing Him, and 
knowing that even though one sees Him not, He sees the servant. 


sees » C ^ * ns P ect * on - The servant having the sure knowledge that Allah 

his iifm m Clrcu [ nstances and k nows all that he is doing, as such the hej does 
5 n0t t0 faU lnto the prohibited matters and to correct his own fallings. 


% 


49 



HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


( al-Hayy ), the All-Hearing (, al-Sami), the All-Seeing ( al-Basir ), the 
All-Powerful and Strong (al-'Ayz), the All-Wise (al-Hakim), and 
the Commander Who has authority over everything; Who Loves, 
Hates and Be Pleased; Who angers and does all that He is pleased to 
do; Who decrees all that He wants while being above His Throne; 
and nothing or anyone escapes from His Knowledge for He knows 
that which deceives the eyes and what the breasts conceal. 

The state of mindfulness is the foundation from which all the 
deeds of the heart emanate as it necessitates becoming humble 
( al-hayd*f and shy ( al-ijlat) from Allah, respectful ( al-ta ( %im ) to Him, 
and turning ( al-inabah ) 3 4 5 to Him. Furthermore, it calls forth one’s 
love ( al-mahabba ) of Allah, fear ( al-khashija ) of Him, [full] reliance 
(al-tau>akkul) on Him, submission {al-khusku'y to Him and the feel¬ 
ing of humility' ( al-dull ). It also' ends all the whispers ( al-ivaswasa ) 


3 Haya\ modesty, derived from the word bayat , or life because it is through 
modesty that the heart is granted life and it is through the absence of modesty 
that it dies. It is a state that arises through the servant being aware that Allah 
is watching him, having love, fear and awe of Him and thinking little of him¬ 
self. Al-Junayd said, ‘al-Haya *is to recognise the bounties of Allah and then to 
recognise ones own shortcomings. Through this a state is engendered which is 
termed al-Haya\ the reality of which is that it is a mannerism that prevents one 
from committing vile actions and from being lax in fulfilling the rights of Allah/ 

4 Inabab: returning, ibn al-Qayyim, Madarij as-Salikin [1/467] said, ‘indbah com¬ 
prises four matters: the love of Allah, submission to Him, turning to Him, 
and turning away from everything besides Him. A person cannot be said to 
“penitent” unless he meets all four requirements and the explanation of the 
Salaf to this word revolves around this. The word also carries the meaning of 
quickness, returning and precedence; therefore the penitent is rushing to do 
that which would please his Lord, turning back to Him at every moment and 
foremost in doing that which He loves.’ 

5 Khushu\ submissiveness, hurriility. 


50 






Fourth Element: Station of Excellence (al-ihsan) and Vigilance of Allah 

of devils, casts away the doubts and commits the heart and the 
mind to become devoted to Allah alone. 

How close a servant is from his Lord depends on his share from 
the state of ihsan, and because of which, the reward and rank of 
salah differ from one to another so that the difference between the 
salah of one person and another can be like the distance between 
heavens and earth though both perform the salah similarly. 




51 


CHAPTER NINE 


I 

Fifth Element: 

Acknowledgment of the Favour 

( al-minna ) of Allah 


It is to acknowledge the infinite blessing for being at the service 
of Allah. That your heart and body are deployed to serve Him 
[alone] - and are only for Allah, whose Grace and Favour were 
conferred upc - vou, to facilitate for you being in such a state [of 
servitude]. Hau it not been for Allah’s Grace and Favour upon 
you, nothing of that would have occurred, which is something that 
the companions of the Prophet (M) acknowledged when they used 
to repeat a line of poetry, that reads as follows: 

‘By Allah, was it not for Allah, 
neither would we have been guided, 

nor able to give charity nor perform the prayer’ 

I 

Allah, Most High, said: 



“They consider it a favour to you that they have ac- 


52 


Fifth Element: Acknowledgment of the Favour (al-minna) of Allah 

cepted Islam. Say, ‘Do not consider your Islam a favour 
to me. Rather, Allah has conferred favour upon you 
that He has guided you to the faith, if you should be 
truthful.”’ 

[al-Hujurat (49): 17] 


It is Allah who permitted a servant, to become a believer in the 
first instance. It is Him who facilitated for people to pray, just as 
Prophet Ibrahim (‘ alayhis-salam) said in the ayah , 



“Our Lord!, And make us Muslims [in submission] to 
You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in 
submission] to You” 


\al-Baqarah (2): 128] 


and 


I 


i ♦' 

“My Lord, make me one who establishers the prayer, 
and [many] from my descendants.” 

\lbrdhim (14): 40] 


It is therefore a fact that it’s the favour (al-minna) of ^Vllah that 
He conferred upon His slaves to worship and obey Him. Indeed, 
this is from the greatest of Allah’s graces upon His servant: Allah, 
Most High, said, 




And whatever you have of favour - it is from Allah” 

[al-Nahi (16): 53] 


and 


53 






HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 



“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you 
are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if 
you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’” 

[Fussildt (41): 7] 

This element by far is one of the greatest elements and most 
beneficial for the servant of Allah; so the more profound the 
Tawhid of a person is, the more perfected his share from this ele¬ 
ment will be. One of the benefits attained from this element is that 
it prevents the heart from feeling egoistic about the good deeds 

I 

performed because when a person acknowledges and affirms that 
Allah, Most High, is the One who guided the servant to Him and 
that it is His favour upon the servant that he is a believer, he will 
consequendy no; ~ fascinated by his good deeds or even feel su¬ 
perior to other people because of that; therefore all such debased 
feelings are instandy removed,from his heart and so neither does 
he talk about them nor feel better than others because of them; 
and this is the nature of any accepted good deed. 

From the other benefits of acknowledging Allah’s favour upon 
us, is that it makes a person praise the One really entided and de¬ 
serving of praise; not praise one self but rather acknowledges the 
fact that all the praise is due to Allah alone just as one acknowledges 
the fact that the grace he basks in and the bounties one is blessed 
with are from Allah alone. This benefit manifests the perfection 

(tarndm) of one’s tawhid of Allah. 

•\ * 

* 

That being said, a person vail never have a firm foothold in the 
rank ( maqam ) of tawhid, until after one acknowledges and experi- 


« 


54 




Fifth Element: Acknowledgment of the Favour (al-minna) of Allah 


ences all what has been said. As soon as one comes to cognize 
this, one deeply roots his footing on its ground, and as soon as the 
heart experiences that, one will then reap its fruit that no worldly 
grace or blessing can ever match, i.e. a person will then lavish in 
the ( al-mahabba) love and intimacy ( al-uns ) of Allah while basking 
in the amiability of His company and longing (al-shawq) to the 
moment of meeting Him, and luxuriate in His remembrance and 
worship. Truly, there is no good in life for a person when the path 
leading to all that is blocked and when the heart is shunned from 
all that as a person of this kind is as Allah described in the ayah , 



“Let them eat and enjoy themselves and be diverted by 
[false] hope, for they are going to know.” 

[al-Hijr{ 15): 3] 


55 



CHAPTER TEN 


Sixth Element: 

Blaming One’s Self for Inadequate Efforts 


It is to maintain the feeling that your endeavours and efforts to 
worship Allah are always inadequate; and that the right of Allah 
upon you is greater; therefore your obedience, worship and ser¬ 
vitude ( al-ubildiya ) must be greater than what you perform, as the 
level of you; rvitude to Allah must befit His Glory and Power. 


If the servants and subjects of kings exhibit high regards ( al - 
ta%tm) y respect {al-ihtiram) , reverence ( al-tcnvqir ), awe (al-kbaskiya), 
dread ( al-mababa ) and sincerity ( al-nusb ) towards their masters to 
the extent they dedicate their body-limbs and hearts to serve them, 
then it befits more that the King of all kings ( Malik al-Maluk ) and 
the Lord of the heavens and the earth be treated not only in a 
similar manner but far more superior. 


If a servant ( al-abd) acknowledges that his state of servitude ial- 
'ubudiya ) does not fulfil, or is even close to fulfilling the due rights 
of Allah upon him. A person will then realise their shortcomings 
and will thus hasten to seek His forgiveness, apologise for ones 
deficiencies, inadequate worship and obedience. It is for this rea¬ 
son we are in more need of His forgiveness due to our inadequate 
worship and obedience than we are in need of asking His reward 


56 


Sixth Element Blaming One's Self for Inadeq uate Efforts 

for the worship and obedience we have performed. There is no 

pnde or credit to be claimed by a person, even if one was able to 

fulfil all the requirements of his state of servitude {al-ubudiya) to 

Allah, Most High, because in that case one would only be fulfilling 

the natural (role) of his status as a servant to his Master, Allah 

Glorified be He, requires. It is obvious that if a servant served his 

master then he requested from his master a reward for his service, 

people would have deemed him a fool though in the true terms 

and sense of reality he is not a truly a slave of another man since 

mankind is owned and is wholly a servant of Allah alone from 

all aspects. That being said, when Allah rewards His servants for 

their worship, which they are obligated to perform anyhow - as 

His servants - then that is due to Allah’s favour and grace that He 

confers upon them, although they are not entitled to receive any 
reward. 

By understanding this, we 'oruprehend the meaning of the 
statement of the Prophet wherein he said, “No one shall en¬ 
ter,Paradise by [the virtue of] his deeds/’ The companions asked: 
"Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?’ He replied: “Not even me, 
unless Allah engulfs me with His Mercy and Grace.” 1 


1 Bukhari #6467 and Muslim #2816-7113 records the hadlth of Abu Hurayrah 
that the Prophet ($j&) said, “There is not a single,person whose deeds will enter 
him into Paradise.” It was asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, not even you?’ He replied, 
“Not even me, unless Allah were to envelop me in His mercy.” 

He also records #2816-7121 on the authority of Jabir that he heard the 
Messenger of Allah ( 3 ^) saying, “The deeds of any one of you will not enter 
him into Paradise or saye him from the Fire, not even me unless it be through 
the mercy of Allah.” 

The hadlth is also recorded on the authority of Abu Sa‘id by Ahmad #11486; 
Abu Musa, Usamah ibn Sharik, Shank ibn Tariq, and Asad ibn Kurz by TabaranI, 
al-Kabir #493-1001 -6549-7218-7221. For a detail, commentary on this hadlth 
refer to 'The Journey to Allah* published by Dar as-rSunnah Publishers, 2007. 


57 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


Anas ibn Malik {radiyAllahu \atthu ) related: “On the Day of Judg¬ 
ment, there will be three accounts for each person; one of which 
includes the records of his good deeds, and one of which is for 
his bad deeds, and the last of which is for the bounties and graces 
that Allah conferred on his servant. The Lord, Glorified be He, 
will says to His graces and bounties, “take your due rights from 
the good deeds of My slave.” Upon which, the least and smallest 
grace starts to take its right until no more good deeds are left in 
his account. Then, it says, O my Lord! T have not yet taken enough 
good deeds to fulfil my right! At that point, if Allah wanted to 
show His Mercy to His slave. He would grant him all His graces 
and bounties, forgive his sins and double his good deeds.” 2 

f 

I 

/ 

/ 

/ 

This report is authentic and verified to be narrated by Anas 
ibn Malik (radiyAllahu 'atthu), and it is the clearest evidence on 
the perfect ki Uedge of the companions about their Lord and 
His rights upon them. Needless to add, they also have the most 
knowledge about the Prophet (^); his Sunnah and the religion. 
This report includes a knowledge and cognition that no one can 
comprehend except those who have insightful hearts and know 
their Lord, His Attributes, Names and rights upon His slaves. By 
knowing that, we can understand the hadith, recorded by Imam 
Ahmad and Abu Dawud and narrated by Zayd Ibn Thabit and 
Hudhayfah {radiyAllahu \anhum ). as well as others that the Prophet 
(£&) said, “If Allah punished the dwellers of the heavens and the 
earth, He will not have been unjust to them, and if He showed 
Mercy to them, His Mercy will be better for them than their good 
deeds.” 3 

2 Graded as mawquf by al-Haythaml in his ‘Kashf al-Astar 'al-Zawa’idal-Bavgad, 
4/120 (#3444) 

i 

3 Abu Dawud (5/75) and Ahmad (6/237) 

It was declared sahih by al-Alban! 


58 





CHAPTER ELEVEN 


[The Four Pillars] 


In order to grasp all the aspects of this state (of being), four 
things need to be assured, namely a sincere intention (niyyah 
sahib ah ), an overwhelming capacity (qfar at al- 'dliyd ), desire ( raghbah) 
and fear (rahbah). 

These four points stand out as v basis of this state, and any 
deficit in one’s iman , conditions, apparent and hidden affairs is due 
to a shortcoming found in either or all these four pillars. Therefore 
a sensible person must reflect on these four pillars and ensure in 
complying with them, and abiding by these four rules, and to make 
them the guideline for his knowledge, deeds, words and conditions 
[in life]. It can be said that those who have developed this state 
could not do so without these four pillars and those who failed, 
did so only because they have not complied with them. 

And, Allah knows best! Upon Him we rely and depend, and it is 
His pleasure that we seek, and it is Him Who can help us and all 
our brethren from the people of Sunnah in complying with these 
four pillars in terms of knowledge and action. Indeed, He is the 
One Capable of that and it is Him Who suffices us in everything. 


59 


APPENDIX ONE 


I 

The Virtues of Patience* 


The Messenger of Allah (^) saifl, “Know that great good lies in 
bearing with patience what you dislike.” The narration of ‘Umar, 
the freed-slave of Ghufrah, on the authority of ibn ‘Abbas has an 
additional sentence before this phrase, “If you are able to work 
deeds for die sake of Allah, being content and in a state of certainty, 
do so. If 5 are unable, know that great good lies in bearing with 
patience what you dislike .” * 1 

The meaning of certainty here is to actualise faith in the decree 
(Al-Qadr). This is mentioned explicitly in the narration of his 
son, ‘All ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, on the authority of his father 
which has the additional wording, ‘1 asked, ‘Messenger of Allah, 
how can I act with certainty?’ He replied, “That you know that 
what afflicted you could never have missed you and what missed 
you could never have afflicted you.’” However, the isnad is da‘If. 

f 

When you have consolidated the topic of certainty, attaining 
certainty in the heart of the decree and ordainment necessitates 
the heart being at rest and peace with it. This very meaning is 
articulated by the Qur’an: 

‘Taken from 'Legacy of the Prophet' by Ibn Rajab al-Hamball (p.110-132). 
Published by Dar as-Sunnah Publishers, Birmingham, U.K, 2009. 

1 Abu Nu’aym, vol. 1, pg. 314 


60 



The Virtues of Patience 




“Nothing occurs, either in the earth or in your selves, 
without its being in a Book before We make it happen. 
That is so that you will not be grieved about the things 
that pass you by or exult about the things that come 
to you.” 2 


In exegesis to this verse, Dahhak said, ‘He strengthened their 
resolve: so that you will not be grieved about the things thatpassedyou by, ” 
so grieve not about worldly effects (that have missed you), for We 
have not decreed them for you. ‘Or exult about the things that come 
to you,” exult not about the woi y effects that We have granted 
you for they would never have been held back from you.’ This was 
recorded by ibn Abl al-Dunya. 

4 

Said ibn Jubayr explained the verse with the words, “‘So that 
you will not be grieved about the things thatpassedyou by, ” of well-being 
and affluence, this because you know that it was decreed for you 
before He even created you.’ This was recorded by ibn Abl Hatim. 

It is in light of this that one of the Salaf said, ‘Faith in the decree 
removes worry and distress.’ The Prophet (^) alluded to this with 
his words, “Be desirous of all that would benefit you and seek 
Allah s aid and do not despair. If you are afflicted with something, 
do not say, ‘If only I had done [this], such and such would have 


2 al-Hadid (57): 22-23 


I 


61 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


happened,’ rather say, ‘Allah decreed and did what He willed.’ 
[Saying], ‘If only,’ opens [the door to] the actions of Shaytan.” 3 

Alluded to in this hadith is that if one were to, at the onset of 
affliction, remind one’s self of the decree, the whisperings of 
Shaytan which lead to worry, distress and sorrow would go away. 

Anas said, ‘I served the Prophet (M) for ten years and he never 
once said to me about something I did, “Why did you do that?” 
or about something I did not do, “Why didn’t you do that?’” 4 He 
said, When one of his family would reprimand me, he would say, 
“Let him be, if something is decreed, it will happen.’” The hadith 
with this additional wording was recorded by Imam Ahmad. 5 

Ibn Abl al-Hunya records with an isnad that is problematic that 
‘A’ishah said, xhe most frequent words of the Prophet (jH) when 
he came home were, “Whatever matter Allah has ordained will 
happen.”’ He also records, with an isnad that is mursal, that the 
Prophet (zH) said to ibn Mas‘ud, “Do not worry too much, what 
has been decreed will happen, and what you are to be provided with 
will come to you.” 6 The hadith of Abu Hu-ayrah has the Prophet 

3 Muslim #2664 on the authority of Abu Hurayrah. 

4 Bukhari #2768-6038-6911, Muslim #2309 

% 

3 Ahmad #13418, BayhaqI, Shu'ab #8070 with an isnad meeting the criteria of 
Bukhari and Muslim^ 
cf. Arna*ut, Takhrij Musnad. 

i 

6 BayhaqI, Shu'ab #1188, Ibn Abl al-Dunya, al-Faraj bad al-Shiddah. 

Ibn Hajr, al-Isdbah y vol. 1, pg. 104 said that the isnad contained ‘Ayyash ibn 
‘Abbas who was da‘If. It was ruled da‘lf by AlbanI, al-Da'ifah #4793. cf. AlbanI, 
al-Sahihahv ol. 4, pg. 34 who mentions two more weak narrations of this hadith 
on the authority of ‘Umar and Abu Dharr. 


62 




The Virtues of Patience 


($£) saying, “[Saying], ‘La hawla wa la qumvata ilia bi'llah n is a cure 
for ninety nine ailments, the least of which is worry.” This was 
recorded by Tabarani and Hakim. 7 8 


Actualising this statement necessarily leads to relegating all af¬ 
fairs to Allah and believing that nothing will happen unless Allah 
wills it. Faith in this removes worry and distress. The Prophet 
(^) advised a man, saying, “Do not impugn Allah for something 
He has ordained for you.” 9 


When the servant sees the workings of Allah’s wisdom and mercy 
through His decree and ordainment and knows that He is not to 
be impugned for His decree, he will attain contentment at Allah’s 
ordainment. Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, says, 


Cj*<1»CA'C 

% 

• # 

“No misfortune occurs except by Allah’s permission. 
Whoever has faith in Allah - He will guide his heart .” 10 


7 lit: There is no might nor motion except with Allah. 

8 Tabarani, al-Awsat #5028, Ibn Ablal-Dunya, al-Farajbadal-Shiddah . 

Hakim #1990 said it was sahih but DhahabI pointed out that it had a weak 
narrator, Bishr. HaythamI, vol. 10, pg. 98 said the isnad contained Bishr ibn RafT 
who was da ( If. Ibn al-jawzl, al-Ilal\ vol. 2, pg. 348 said that it was not authentic 
and it was ruled da'if by Albani, Da'if al-Targhtb #970-1147 

9 Ahmad #17814-22717, Bukhari, Khalq Afdl al-'Ibdd #163 

Mundhiri, al-Targhtb vol. 2 , pg. 257, after quoting two chains, said of one 
of them that the isnad was hasan. It was ruled hasan li ghayrihl by Albani, 
al-Sahthah #3334, Sahih al-Targhib #1307. Arna'ut said that the hadlth was a 
candidate for being hasan. 

4 

10 al-Taghdbun (64): 11 

i 


63 






HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


In exegesis to this verse, 'Alqamah said, ‘This refers to a misfor¬ 
tune that befalls a person, but he knows that it is from Allah so he 
accepts it and is content.’ 


In an authentic hadlth, the Prophet («H) said, “There is nothing 
that Allah ordains for the believer except that it is good for him. 
If he encounters times of ease, he is grateful and that is good for 
him. If he encounters misfortune, he is patient and that is good 
for him. This only holds true for the believer.” 11 


The Qur’an also proves this, 




* 


< 










“Say: ‘Nothing can happen to us except what Allah has 
ordained for us. He is our Master and it is in Allah that 
the believers should put their trust.’ Say: ‘What do you 

await for us except for one of the two best things?...”’ 12 


Here, He informs us that nothing could happen to them except 
what He has decreed. This indicates that, regardless if what they 
encounter is hard or easy, it is the same to them. He then informs 
us that He is their Master and whoever is in such a position will 
not be forsaken by Allah; indeed He will take charge of effectuat- 
ing good for him, 


11 Muslim #2999 on the authority of Suhayb ibn Sinan 

12 al-Tawbah (9): 51-52 


64 







The Virtues of Patience 



“Know that Allah is your Master, the Best of Masters 
and the Best of Helpers!” 13 


9 '' T'f 



> y 


“What do you await for us except for one of the two 
best things?...” 14 


i.e. either aid and victory or martyrdom: both are best. 15 

Tirmidhl records on the authority of Anas that the Prophet 
(M) sal d> “When Allah loves a people, He tries them. Whoever is 
content will have good-pleasure, and whoever is displeased will 
have displeasure.” 16 

- 

4 9 

i Abu’l-Darda’ said, ‘Allah love: at a [servant] be content with 
a matter when He ordains it.’ Ummu’l-Darda’ said, ‘Those who 
are truly content with the ordainment of Allah are people who are 


13 al-Anfil (8): 40 


14 al-Tawbah (9): 52 


15 Ibn Abl Hatim and Tabari quote this as the exegesis of ibn ( Abbas and 
Mujahid. 1 


16 Tirmidhl #2396, ibn Majah #4031. 

Tirmidhl said that it was hasan gharlb. Mundhirl, al-Targhib , vol. 4, pg. 233 
said the isnad was hasan or sahlh. Ibn Muflih, al-Adab al-Shar'iyyah , vol. 2, pg. 
181 said that the isnad was jayyid. It was ruled hasan by Albani, al-S^bihah #146 
Ahmad #23623-23633-23641 records a similar hadlth on the authority of 
Mahmud ibn Labid with the words, “When Allah loves a people, He tries 
them. Whoever is patient, for him is pauence and whoever despairs, for him 
is despair.” Arna'ut said that the isnad was jayyid. 


65 








HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


content, no matter what is ordained. On the Day of Rising they will 
have such stations in Paradise as would make the martyrs envious.’ 

Ibn Mas‘ud said, ‘By Allah’s justice and knowledge did He place 
relief and joy in certainty and contentment, and worry and distress 
in doubt and displeasure.’ This is also reported as a hadlth of the 
Prophet £fg) but is da'Tf. 18 

'Umar ibn 'Abdu’l-'AzIz would say, ‘These invocations have 
left me with no further needs, only submission to the decree 
of Allah, Mighty and Magnificent. He would employ them in 
supplication frequently, saying, “O Allah make me content with 
your ordainment and bless me in your decree to the extent that I 
would not wish to hasten something I delayed or delay something 
I hastened.’” 19 


Ibn 'Awn saL., In both times of ease and difficulty be content 
with Allah’s decree, it will decrease your distress and serve you 
better in your pursuit of the Hereafter. Know that the servant will 
never attain the reality of contentment until his contentment at 
times of poverty and tribulation is the same as his contentment at 
times of affluence and ease. How can you g^ to Allah to adjudge 
your affair and then be discontent when you find that His ordain¬ 
ment does not accord to your desires?! It is well possible that, were 
your desire to come to fruition, you would be destroyed! When 
His ordainment accords to your desires, you are content, and both 

cases arise because of your scant knowledge of the unseen. How 

% 

9 

* t 

- I 

17 BayhaqI, Shu'ab #209, ibn Abl al-Dunya, al-Yaqin #32 with a da‘if isnad. 

18 cf. Chapter 8 fn #8 

i 

19 BayhaqI, Shu'ab #227 


66 




The Virtues of Patience 


can you go to Him for judgment when this is your condition! You 
have not been fair to yourself and neither have you hit the mark 
with regards to contentment.’ 

These are fine words. The meaning is that when the servant 
turns to Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, to aid him in a decision 
{istikhara), he should be content with what Allah chooses for him 
regardless if it conforms to his desires or not. This is because he, 
himself, does not know in which course the good lies and Allah, 
Glorious is He, is not to be impugned for His ordainmfent. It is 
for this reason that some of the Salaf, such as ibn Mas‘ud 20 and 
others, would order a person who feared that he would not be able 
to bear a decision which opposed his desires, to add the words, ‘in 
all well-being, to his istikhara since He could choose trial for him 
and he not be able to bear it. This has also been recorded from 
the Prophet ($g) but it is da‘lf. 21 

\ # 

Bakr al-Muzanl narrates that a man would frequendy make 
istikhara and as result was tried and was unable to bear it with 
patience, instead sinking into despair. So Allah revealed to one 
of their Prophets, “Tell My servant that if he lacks due resolve 
then why does he not ask for My decision [with the words], ‘in 
all well-being’?” 

The hadith of Sa‘d has the Prophet (^) saying, “From the 
good fortune of a servant is His seeking a decision from his 
Lord, Mighty and Magnificent, and being content with what He 
ordains. From the misery of a person is his abandoning seeking a 
decision and his dislike of what He ordains.” This was recorded 

20 BayhaqI, Sbu'ab #205 

I 

j 

TabaranI, aJ-Kabir#\00\ 2-10052 on the authority of ibn Mas'ud and it is da'If. 


67 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


by Tirmidhi and others . 22 

There are numerous ways to achieve contentment with the 
decree: 

1 . The servant having certainty in Allah and a firm trust that 
whatever He decrees for a believer will be good for him. As 
such he will be like a patient who has submitted to the min¬ 
istrations of a skilled doctor: such a patient will be content 
with his ministrations be they painful or not because he has 
a complete trust that the doctor is doing only that which 

9 

will be of benefit to him. This is what ibn ‘Awn alluded to 

/ 

in his aforementioned words. / 

2 . Looking to the reward that Allah has promised for content¬ 
ment. The servant could well be so engrossed in pondering 
this f 1 t he forgets all about the pain he is facing. It is re¬ 
ported that a righteous woman from the Salaf tripped and 
broke a nail whereupon she laughed saying, ‘The delight of 
His reward has made me forget the bitterness of His pain.’ 

3. Immersing oneself in love of the One who sends tribula¬ 
tion, constandy being aware of His magnificence, beauty, 
greatness and perfection which is without limit. The potency 
of such awareness will cause the servant to drown in it such 
that he no longer senses pain much in the same way that the 
women who saw Yusut forgot about the pain of cutting 
their hands . 23 This is a higher station than those previously 

22 Ahmad #1445, Tirmidhi #2151 

Tirmidhi said that it was gharib and that its isnad contained Hammad ibn 
Humayd who was not strong. Arna'ut said that the isnad was da'if. It was ruled 

da'lf by Albani, al-Da'tfah #1906 ' 

^ • 

\ 

Menuoned in, “When they saw him, they were amazed by him and cut their hands. 
They said, Allah preserve us! This is no man. What can this be but a noble angel here!’” 
[Yitsuf {\2)-. 31] 


68 






The Virtues of Patience 


mentioned. 

Junaid said that he asked SirrI if the lover senses the pain of 
tribulation to which he replied, ‘No.’ In these words, he is allud¬ 
ing to this station. It is in this light that a group of those facing 
tribulation said, ‘Let Him do what He wills with us. Even if He 
were to cut us up, limb by limb, we would only increase in our love.’ 

One of them said, 

If ardent love tore me apart, limb from limb, 

The pain would only increase me in love. 

I will remain a prisoner to love, 

Until, in the pursuit of your pleasure, I pass away. 

Ibrahim ibn Adham left his v alth, property, children and serv¬ 
ants. While performing tarvdf he saw his son but did not speak to 
him. He said, 

I 

I migrated from all people for love of You. 

I bereaved my dependants that I may see You. 

If You tore my limbs apart, in my love 

The heart would still long for You. 

A group of the lovers such as Fudayl and Fath al-Mawsill 1 , if 
they went to sleep without an evening meal and without a lamp 
being lit, they would cry in joy. 

During the winter nights, Fath would gather his family and cover 
them with his cloak and say, ‘You made me go hungry so I have 
made my family go hungry. You have made me a stranger so I have 
made my family strangers. This You do with Your beloved and 


69 



HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


Your friends, am I one of them? Should I exult in joy?’ 24 

They entered upon one of the Salaf who was ill and asked him, 
‘Is there anything you want?’ He replied, ‘That whatever He finds 
most pleasing, I find most pleasing.’ 25 

In this light, one of them said, 

| 

For Your sake, his punishment is sweet. 

For Your sake, his distance is closeness. 

You are like my very soul, 

Rather, You are more beloved! 

f 

Sufficient is it in my love 

t 

That I love / only what You love. 

Abu’l-Turab composed the following lines: 

4 

4 

Be not deceived, the lover has signs. 

He has routes to the gifts of the Beloved: 

Taking delight at the bitterness of His trial, 

Being joyous at all that He d^es. 

His withholding is a gift accepted, 

Poverty is honour and generosity, transient. 

They entered upon a man whose son had been martyred in 
Jihad and he wept saying, ‘I do not cry at his loss, I only cry when 
thinking what his state of contentment with Allah was when the 
swords struck!’ 

' \ If Ghada’s people wish me dead, so be it 

_ * 

24 Abu Nu'aym, vol. 8, pg. 192 

25 DhahabI, Siyar y vol. 9, pg. 182 quoting it from Yahya ibn Sa‘ld al-Qattan. 


70 




The Virtues of Patience 

By Allah, I have never begrudged the beloved’s wish! 

I am like a slave to them: I cannot object. 

The point here is that the Prophet ($|) enjoined ibn 'Abbas to 
work deeds while in state of contentment if he was able to. If not, 
he said, “If you are unable, know that great good lies in bearing 
with patience what you dislike,” this then proves that being content 
with decrees that are hard to bear is not an obligation but rather a 
recommendation, a state of excellence. Whoever is unable to be 
content must instead be patient. Patience is obligatory, it must be 
present, and it contains great good. Allah, Most High, has com¬ 
manded patience and promised a great reward for it: , 





“The patient will be paid the : wages in full without 
any reckoning.” 26 


XX X • 



“Give good news to the patient: those who, when 
disaster strikes them, say, “We belong to Allah and to 
Him we will return.’ Those are the people who will 
have blessings and mercy from their Lord; they are the 
ones who are guided.” 27 


26 al-Zumar{ 39): 10 

27 al-Baqarab (2): 155-157 


71 








HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 



“Give good news to the humble hearted, whose hearts 
quake at the mention of Allah, and who are patient in 

the face of all that happens to them.” 28 

I 

t 

al-Hasan said, ‘The state of contentment is rare, but patience 
is the recourse of the believer.’ 29 Sulayman al-KJhawas said, ‘The 
station of patience is below that of contentment. Contentment is 
that a person, before the onset of tribulation, is content whether 
it is present or not. Patience is that a person, after the onset of 
tribulation, bears it steadfastly.’ 

The differer between patience and contentment is that pa¬ 
tience is to restrain the soul and to prevent it from displeasure 
while sensing discomfort or pain. 30 Contentment necessitates 


29 


al-Hajj (22): 34-35 

Abu Nu‘aym, vol. 5, pg. 342 from ( Umar ibn ‘AbduVAzIz 


30 Sabr. to refrain and withhold. Raghib said, ‘It is to withhold the soul as deter¬ 
mined by the Legal Law and the intellect.’ Jahiz said that it is a quality made up 
of sobriety and courage and Munawi said that it was the ability to face disturbing 
and painful circumstances, both physical and mental. It is to withhold the soul 
from misery and displeasure, the tongue from complaining and the limbs from 
derangement; it is to remain firm upon the laws of Allah in all circumstances 
and ^o face adversity with the best of conduct. 

Ibn Hibban, Rawdatu'l-Uqala , pp. 126-128, said, ‘It is obligatory upon the 

* f 

intelligent, in the beginning, to adhere firmly to sabr at the onset of difficulty 
and when he becomes firm in this he should then move on to the level of 
contentment {rida). If one has not been nourished with sabr he should adhere 
firmly to inculcating sabr in himself ( tasabbur ) for that is the first stages of rida. 


72 





The Virtues of Patience 


that the heart readily accept what it is facing and, even if it was to 
feel some pain at what it is facing, the sense of contentment will 
lessen it, perhaps even remove it altogether. This is because the 
heart has felt the soothing breath of certainty and cognisance. 31 

This is why a large group of the Salaf such as ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdu’l- 
‘Azlz, Fudayl, Abu Sulayman and ibn al-Mubarak would say, ‘The 
person who is content does not desire a state other than the one 
he is in whereas the patient does.’ This state of being is reported 

from a group of the Companions, amongst whom were ‘Umar 
and ibn Mas‘ud. 

I 

‘AbduVAzIz ibn Abu Ruwwad said, ‘Amongst the Children of 
Israel there was a devout worshipper who saw a dream in which he 


If a man was to have sabr, truly would h noble; for sabr is the fount of all 
good and the foundation of all obedience... 1 he stages leading to it are concern 
('ihtimam ), awakening (tayakkuf), examination and circumspection {tatbabbitt), 
and tasabbur, after it comes rida and that is the peak of the spiritual stations... 
sabr is, displayed in three matters: sabr from sin; ,w/;r upon obedience; and sabr 
in the face of adversity and calamity.’ cf. Ibn al-Qayyim, Madarijal-Sdlikin, vol. 
1, pp.162-165 

• » 

31 Rida\ the opposite of displeasure and malcontent. JurjanI said that it referred 
to the joy of the heart at the occurrence of the decree. Ibn al-Qayyim, Madarij , 
vol. 2 , pg. 185 mentioned that it is the tranquillity of the heart in the face of 
the vicissitudes of the decree and the firm knowledge that it has that Allah 
would only that which is good for it. 

BayhaqI, Sht/ab #209 records that ibn Mas* *ud ( radiyAllahu 'anbu) said, ‘ Rida 
is that you not please the people at the expense of the displeasure of Allah; 
that you not praise anyone for the provision Allah has granted you; and that 
you not blame anyone for that which Allah has not given you. The grant of 
provision is not dictated by the avarice of a person and neither is it withheld 
because of the aversion of another. By Allah's justice and knowledge did He 
place relief and joy in certainty and contentment, and worry and distress in 
doubt and displeasure.' 1 


73 






HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


was told that so-and-so would be his wife in Paradise. So he went 
to her as a guest for three nights to see what she did. She would 
sleep while he prayed by night and she would eat while he fasted. 
When he left her, he asked her about the greatest deed she felt she 
did. She replied, “I do no more than what you have seen except 
that 1 have one quality: If I am in trying times, I do not want to 
be in times of ease. If I am ill, I do not wish to be healthy. If I am 
hungry, I do not wish to be full. And if I am in the sun, I do not 
wish to be in the shade.” He said, “By Allah, this is a quality that 

is beyond the reach of the servants!’” 

I 

I 

i 

Patience is to be shown at the onset of calamity as is authentically 
reported from the Prophet (^). 32 Contentment is shown after the 
onset of calamity as the Prophet (-H) said in his supplication, “I ask 
You for contentment after the decree.” 33 This is because a servant 
could well res %r e to be content at the decree before it occurs, but 
the resolve dissipate when he actually faces it. Whoever is content 
after the decree has befallen is one who is truly content. 34 

Therefore, in summary, patience is obligatory and must be 
present. Beyond patience there is displeasure and malcontent 
and whoever is displeased at the decree of Allah, his lot will be 
displeasure. Moreover, the pain he will face and the malice of his 
enemies will be far greater than his despair, just as one of them said, 


^ Bukhari $1283-1302-7154, Muslim $626 on the authority of Anas 

-\ 

15 Ahmad #18325, Nasa*! #1306-1307 on the authority of 'Ammar ibn Yasir 
It was ruled sahlh by ibn Hibban #1971, Hakim #1923 with Dhahabi agree¬ 
ing, AlbanI, Takhrij al-Nasa’i and Arna'ut. 

,4 cf. KhattabI , Sba’n al-Du'a , pg. 132 


74 




The Virtues of Patience 


Despair not at any mishap that befalls 
Allow not the malice of the enemy free hold 
People, through patience will you see your hopes 
When you meet the opposing army, stand firm! 

The Prophet ($g) said, “Whoever inculcates patience in himself, 
Allah will grant him patience. Allah has not granted anyone a gift 
better and more expansive than patience.” 35 

‘Umar said, ‘The best times of our lives have been those ac¬ 
companied by patience.’ 36 ‘All said, ‘Patience with respect to faith 
is like the head with respect to the body: a person who has no 
patience has no faith.’ 37 

al-Hasan said, ‘Patience is one of the treasures of Paradise. Allah 
only confers it to those He ennobles.’ Maymun ibn Mihran said, 
No Prophet or anyone else has ever attained good except through 
patience. Ibrahim al-Taymi said, ‘Allai oes not gift a servant with 
patience at harm, patience at tribulation and patience at calamity 
except that He has conferred on him the best [gift] after faith in 
Allah, Mighty and Magnificent.’ He derived this from the saying 
of Allah, Most High, 


3:> Bukhari #1469-6470, Muslim #1053 on the authority of Abu Sa^d al-Khudri 

l 

36 Bukhari as a t^llq report. Ibn Hajr, Path , vol. 11, pg. 309, said, ‘Ahmad, Kitdb 
al-Zuhd (#117), provided a complete chain to Mujahid who said that “Umar 
said...’ and it is sahlh.’ It is also recorded by ibn al-Mubarak, al-Zuhd #630, 
WakT, al-Zuhd #198 

$ 

37 Ibn Abi Shaybah, al-Iman #130, Wakf #199, BayhaqI, Shu'ab #40, Abu 
Nu'aym, vol. 1, pp. 75-76 

SuyutI, al-Jami' #5136 ruled it da'if. 


75 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 



“...rather, those with true devoutness are those who 
have faith in Allah and the Last Day, the Angels, the 
Book and the . Prophets, and who, despite their love 
for it, give a why their wealth to their relatives and to 
orphans "•-’d the very poor, and to travellers and beg¬ 
gars and lu set slaves free, and who establish prayer and 
pay zakat; those who honour their contracts when they 
make them, and are patient in poverty and illness and 


in battle. Those are the people who are true. They arc 


the people who have taqwa ,” 38 


‘Umar ibn 'Abdu VAziz said, ‘Allah does not grant a blessing to 
a person only to take it away, leaving patience in its place, except 
that the replacement was better than what was removed.’ Then 
he recited, 



“The patient will be paid their wages in full without 
any reckoning .” 39 


38 


al-Baqarah (2): 177 


39 


al-Zumar (39): 10 


76 





The Virtues of Patience 


One of the righteous would have a piece of paper which he kept 
in his pocket. Every hour he would look at it and read it. Written 
therein were the words, 

5 

“So wait patiently for the judgement of your Lord - you 
are certainly before Our eyes.” 40 



Beautiful patience is a servant’s keeping his tribulation to himself 
and not telling anyone about it. Allah, Most High says, 


6 * 



“But beaut)’ lies in patience.” 41 

In exegesis to this, a group of the Salaf said that it referred to 
patience that was not accompan by any form of complaint. 42 

Ahnaf ibn Qays had lost his sight for forty years, yet he told no 
one. ‘Abdu’l-'AzIz ibn Abu Ruwwad became blind in one eye for 
twenty years, then, one day, his son looked at him carefully and 
said, ‘Father, one of your eyes is blind!’ He replied, “Yes my son, 
for the past twenty years have I been content with Allah.” Imam 
Ahmad would never complain of any illness that afflicted him 
to anyone. It was mentioned to him that Mujahid would dislike 
moaning while ill, so he stopped doing it and never did so till the 
day he died. He would exhort his self saying, ‘Be patient or you 
will regret!’ 

40 al-Tur (52): 48 

41 Yusuf {\2)-. 83 

• 0 
4 

42 cf. Tabari. 

Refer to Appendix 2 for a further discussion on patience by ibn al-Qayyim. 

7 77 





HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


One of the Gnostics visited a sick person who was saying, ‘Ah! 
Ah!’ He asked, ‘Who from?’ One of them said, 

The soul is beset with illness 
Yet it hides its malady from those who visit 
The inner self has not been just if it complains 
Of its desires to other than its beloved 

Yahya ibn Mu'adh said, ‘If you love your Lord and He decreed 
hunger and nakedness for you, it would be obligatory for you to 
bear it and withhold it from creadon. The lover patiendy bears 
harm from his beloved, so why would you present your complaints 
to it for something it has not done to you?’ 

In my view, deeds from any besides You are hateful. 

You c icts and they, coming from You, are beautiful. 

\ 

\ 

The Messenger of Allah (^) and his Companions would tie 
rocks to their bellies against the hunger they faced. 43 

Uwais would collect broken pieces of bone from the rubbish 
heap with dogs crowding around him tryi ->g to do the same. One 
day a dog barked at him and he said, ‘Dog, do not harm one who 
does not harm you, eat what is close to you and I will eat what is 
close to me. If I enter Paradise, I would be better than you, and 
if I enter the Fire, you would be better than me.’ 

Ibrahim ibn Adham would collect ears of grain along with the 
poor. Seeing that they disliked his competing with them in acquiring 
them, he thought, ‘I have abandoned property at Balkh to compete 
with the poor in collecting grain?’ After that he would only ever 


41 Bukhari #6452 on the authority of Abu Hurayrah 


78 




The Virtues of Patience 


gather grain amongst the animals who would pasture in that land. 

Imam Ahmad would collect grain with the poor. Sufyan al- 
Thawri was once employed to look after two camels while on the 
road to Mecca. He cooked food for some people and it tasted so 
bad that they beat him for it. Fath al-Mawsill would build fires for 
people for a wage. 

For Your sake did I leave the land 
, To the malicious, to the envious. 

Master, for how long will I remain in Your good grace 

My life rushes by, my need is hot fulfilled. 

Another said, 

Much subjugation and toil h..... I seen pursuing Your grace. 
Much patience have I born for You in die face of illness and frailty. 

Abandon me not, I cannot do without You. 

If you wish a wage, take my soul. 

For Your good pleasure I have born ardent love. 

My heart is deeply in love, my tears choke me. 

The love of You makes all that I face easy to bear. 

A person does not sense blessing if he has not faced hardship. 

In their view, the tribulations of this world would be blessings. 
One of them said, ‘The true jurist is one who sees tribulation as 
a blessing and ease a misfortune.’ It is mentioned in a Judaeo- 
Christian narration, ‘If you see someone affluent approaching, say, 

i 

“A sin whose punishment has been hastened on!” If you see some¬ 
one poor approaching, say, “A sign of the righteous, welcome!”’ 44 


44 This was said by Shurayh al-Qadl as per DhahabI, Siyar , vol. 4, pg. 105 

/ 


79 




HEARTFELT ADVICE TO A FRIEND 


One of the Salaf said, ‘When I am afflicted with calamity, I praise 
Allah four times: I praise Allah for it not being worse than it is, I 
praise Allah for nourishing me with the ability to bear it patiendy, 
I praise Him for granting me the accord to say, “To Allah we 
belong and to Him we return;” and I praise Him for not making 
the tribulation in my religion.’ 

Looking to relief through patience is an act of worship since 
tribulation never remains forever. 

f 

0 

f 

Patiendy bear every calamity, take heart, 

KnoW that harm never endures forever. 

Be patient, just as the nobles were patient: 

It is a fleeting event; here today, gone tomorrow. 

I 

If the most severely afflicted person were to be dipped but 
once in the bliss of Paradise and then asked, ‘Have you ever seen 
calamity? Have you ever encountered calamity?’ He will reply, ‘My 
Lord, no!’ 45 


O soul, patience only for a few days! 
Their length? A few flitting dreams! 

O soul, pass through this world quickly; 
Turn away from it, true life lies ahead! 


Another said, 


It is only an hour, then it will depart 
All of this will go, it will disappear. 


45 As mentioned in a hadlth recorded by Muslim #2807 on the authority of Anas. 


80